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Sir John Monash Stakes preview

It might be mid-winter in Melbourne but it's not all over yet for Group racing this season. The Sir John Monash Stakes provides a chance for the best off-season sprinters to earn some black type. Preview from Mitch Fenton, @weekndkngracing. Read more on his site.


Sir John Monash Stakes
Group 3 $150,000 1100m
1609 local, 0709 BST

Group 1 placed at his last two outings - firstly in Australia's richest sprint race, the TJ Smith Stakes where he was beaten a nose behind Chautauqua getting nailed right on the post at huge odds, in what many considered a fluke run. However he proved it was no such fluke producing another great effort in the Goodwood, where he was left in front a long way from home and just got run over late.

He loves Caulfield where he's won five of eight, and the 1100m holds no fears anymore like it once did, He's drawn poorly in barrier 11 but he's fast enough out of the traps to cross down and sit outside Minaj who is the likely leader drawn barrier three. Even if Ollie has to sit three-deep the trip, I don't think it'll matter because he's got such a significant class edge and is perfectly placed under WFA conditions. He's a good thing and anything close to yours-for-mine odds is a pinch.

2. RIZIZ 17
South Australian-trained galloper who is as honest as the day is long. Has had five runs this campaign including a solid 2.5L second in the RN Irwin Stakes at Morphettville back in March behind Daytona Grey. He then went onto the Goodwood - the same race Lord of the Sky was a close second in, and despite officially running 16th of 17, he was only beaten 6L in a blanket finish. He was 5.8L off Lord of the Sky that day at level weights, so it's hard to fathom how he'll turn the tables on that result all being equal. 1100m is short of his best but he's sure to give some cheek out up toward the lead. Place hope.

3. SEA LORD 51
Won an open handicap at Moonee Valley last time out but did have the luxury of only having to carry 52kg after the claim. He bounced straight on the bunny that day and gave nothing else a look-in, winning comfortably. Is a Group 2 winner of the Australia Stakes, but that was at Moonee Valley, his home away from home. He's had eight goes at Caulfield for just one minor placing, so it's fair to assume he doesn't handle the quirkily-configured track too well at all. Will likely roll forward from gate six but in a race where there looks to be plenty of pressure on up front I think he'll find this race a bit too rich.

Rising 8 year old who has a terrific 1100m record of five wins and a second from 11 tries, including this race in 2013. Has had four runs this prep, all solid efforts, without ever looking like winning. Was runner-up behind the subsequent Group 1 placed Lumosty on May 9 at Flemington beaten 3L, and he was also beaten 3L behind Lumosty at his next start. That form is pretty handy, but he doesn't win often and in such a hot Gr3 race I doubt he will be winning here either.

Totally outclassed at this grade. He's had three runs back this campaign for a sixth, a win and another sixth. The latest effort was beaten 5.7L behind Sea Lord who as I've already stated has no hope in the race, so that just about sums it up.

Adelaide visitor who has been very well tried in pre-post markets firming up from $26 into $14. He's had eight runs in a long campaign that started in February, but he seemingly is getting better the further he goes into the prep. In his last five runs he's had four wins and a placing so he's racing in a very rich vein of form. The wins however have come in Benchmark races and he faces a stiff class rise here, but he's racing in the form of his life and the punters who got the 25/1 are a great chance of collecting the place dividend, but can't see him winning.


Group 1 placed in the Galaxy as a three-year old when she looked as though she had the world at her feet. But since that day she has been a shadow of her former self. Comes here second up & at her best she'd go very close to winning this but it's hard to recommend her on what she's shown in her last couple of preps. She was lame first up post-race so that's forgivable. She's some sneaky hope if there happens to be a chink in the favourite's armour.

Lightly raced 5 year old mare having just start number 15, who on her day has an explosive turn of foot. This is her third run back from a break. First-up she was disappointing as a short-priced favourite although she did end up running second. She led unchallenged and they absolutely crawled in front, so she was entitled to kick on and win but she didn't quicken at all. Second-up she went north to Randwick, where again after getting a good run in transit she failed to fire a shot in the run home, maybe if you want to clutch at an excuse you could say she's not 100% at home on the wet, which she faced that day. Back on top of the ground is a big plus, but I'm prepared to knock her completely and despite being second favourite give her no hope of winning.

10. MINAJ 15
A speedy jump and run mare who possesses a very high cruising speed. Has been terrific in all five runs this preparation with the Freedman boys having her going better than ever. First-up she was a length and a half of Gr1 Platelet over 955m at the Valley. Second-up she lead until the shadows before being gunned down by her opponent again here Miss Promiscuity. She then went across to Adelaide and was third to Thermal Current in the Gr 3 McKay Stakes over this trip of 1100m. She again lead them up in the Gr3 Proud Miss Stakes and was only defeated 3L by Hazard who raced so well in Brisbane during the winter, winning the Dane Ripper Stakes so that form is handy. She just doesn't run a strong 1200m. Last time out at Moonee Valley over 1000m it was a complete forgive run, as she had to burn across from the outside gate to lead and ran along in a time 1.2L quicker than average all whilst carrying 58kg. From gate three there's no doubt she'll lead and be the one to catch and I think she'll run a good race. I can't see he turning over the favourite but I have her in the placings.

Like Minaj, she has form around Hazard which is pretty handy. In fact she was beaten just a head by the Freedman mare here, three starts ago just getting 1kg off her at the weights. She was then runner-up in the Gr3 Proud Miss Stakes at Morphettville again behind Hazard beaten just 3/4 of a length after sitting up on the speed. Forgive her last start at the Valley where she was eighth beaten 3.5L, nothing went right at all. And I do mean nothing! She was slowly away with the 60kg impost and was twice blocked for a run - rounding the home turn and then again at the 200m. She's drawn out but will no doubt press forward and be in the first half dozen. The blow out runner.

Out of depth at WFA considering she's been safely held at her two runs this prep, carrying under the minimum with a claim.

13. WILD RAIN 11
Easy winner last time out at Moonee Valley after getting the gun run in third. The 3yo filly is well and truly under the odds at $11, stepping up from a fillies and mares benchmark 90 on the minimum weight to Gr3 WFA. Her restricted class form doesn't warrant her being that short and I don't give her any possible hope this grade.

The race should just be a one-act affair in all truthfulness, I think the race a benefit for the toppy Lord of the Sky. He just has panels on them, so even if he does is have a tough run from the bad gate he's got enough up his sleeve to still be winning. Bet365 are betting $1.95 and for me that's a steal as I've assessed her as a $1.50 chance in the event. Minaj and Miss Promiscuity will make their own luck up on speed and are capable of willing should something go badly wrong for the favourite, but as it stands they are nice each-way bets at their odds.


If you're a punter not afraid to have a big whack on a short priced favourite, this is the race for you. Attack #1 Lord of the Sky @ $1.95. Exotic punters for you I'd suggest a trifecta with #1 Lord of the Sky a banker, from #10 Minaj & #11 Miss Promiscuity boxed up for 2nd and 3rd. That'll set you back just $2 for 100% of the dividend.


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